As our days get shorter and the nights get cooler, it’s time to start thinking about fall colors and decorating for the season!
One of our staple fall plants here at the garden center is traditional fall mums. They’re available in a wide range of colors, which means you can create a beautiful fall container to match any décor. So what pairs well with mums? Mum buddies! (Or at least that’s what we call them.) There’s really no shortage of mum companion plants, especially given the large variety of colors. We’ve rounded up a short list of just a few of our favorites.
What goes better with mums than more mums? Mix and match colors for a striking combination.
Cabbage & Kale
We love using these hearty, leafy plants in containers since they’ll continue to look great even as temperatures start to drop. They’re even known to withstand snow.
There’s a wide range of grasses you can use in your fall containers to add a touch of color, texture, and interest with varying heights. We especially love varieties that turn red and burgundy as it gets cooler.
Daisy-like blossoms, with a resemblance to a star, will give your garden a fresh new shade of color. While many fall color pallets are in the conventional red, orange, yellow, Asters offer some cool alternatives in purples, whites, and pinks.
For bright fall color which nearly resembles tie-dye, we love using Croton in our containers, and later bringing it back inside as a houseplant.
One of our favorite spring flowers makes a comeback in the fall! With lots of colors available you can match your flowers to any arrangement, or add a contrasting pop of color.
Celosia offers fun textures for your fall containers or landscapes that last all the way into the fall.
These late bloomers are great for adding fall color right as more tender plants begin to die back.
Stunning fall texture comes from both the foliage and flowers of sedum. Both drought and heat tolerant, sedum is especially ideal for late summer/early fall containers which may still be exposed to hot temperatures.
With constantly ripening fruit, you can expect to see a range of colors on one single plant, for an evolving fall display.
Once you have the perfect fall container planted up with mums and their buddies, you can pair it with pumpkins, cornstalks, hay bales, and even some Indian corn. Your space will be feeling like fall in no time! Need Help? Stop by the garden center and we can give you a hand selecting your fall plants and accessories!
Everyone knows chrysanthemums as the classic autumn annual, but people often wonder just how long they will last, and when all those buds are going to open. The answers to these questions depend heavily on temperature and the intensity and duration of sun exposure. However, we can narrow down a window where you can expect to have a nice display of beautiful fall color from your mums!
Chrysanthemums do best in a full day’s worth of direct sun but will tolerate down to a part shade setting, and they prefer cooler days.
When chrysanthemums have more buds than flowers, it takes cooler nights and sunny days to help their blooms fully open. How long that takes depends on how nice Mother Nature is to us.
When in color, under optimum conditions, you can expect your mums to bloom for about 4-6 weeks. We have early, mid, and late-season bloomers; if timed correctly, your early blooming mums will provide color from August to September, the mid-season bloomers from September to mid-October, and the late-season bloomers will finish the season off from mid-October to the first frost.
With summer here, it means more time spent outside, with lots of cookouts and family gatherings on decks and patios. To create a welcoming space that everyone will enjoy, dress up your outdoor areas with beautiful custom containers for a colorful focal point.
Putting together a unique container might sound overwhelming, but we’re here to help! Just follow these simple steps:
Pick your container:
There are tons of container options to choose from ranging from ceramic, terra cotta, plastic, or wood. With so many options available, you can be sure to find something to match any style or decor. Depending on the size of your space you can consider large statement containers, which look especially lovely flanking either side of a door. Or if you have a smaller space you can pot up some smaller containers to sprinkle around your space. Having several containers in the same style or color can really tie together your space. Experiment with grouping different sized containers together, or play around with different heights by incorporating a plant stand. There are no hard rules, so have fun experimenting until you find something you like. The one thing to be mindful of with containers is drainage. Check to make sure each container has holes in the bottom. Luckily, most materials are easy enough to drill through if your container is lacking drainage (ceramic may require a special drill bit).
Pick your soil:
Picking the right soil will set your plants up for a great beginning. Depending on what you’re planting we would recommend the following:
• Van Wilgen’s Natural and Organic Potting Mix for your herb and vegetable containers.
• Van Wilgen’s Premium Container Mix for any of your annual or perennial container plantings. This mix contains starter fertilizer and water-holding polymers perfect to keep your container looking its best.
• Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix for any of your houseplant container pots. This is a lighter-weight soil ideal for most houseplants.
Don’t forget to add fertilizer to all your containers. We have many to pick from but one of our favorites is our Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer which will keep your plants looking beautiful.
Pick your plants:
Picking your plants is your time to shine and show your creativity. Just be mindful of the light the area gets and choose plants that will thrive under those conditions.
If you’re unsure of where to start, we always recommend the tried and true “thriller, filler, and spiller” method. Start by choosing a plant with some drama and height (thriller), add in a mid-height companion plant (filler), and then complete the arrangement with a hanging plant that will spill over the side of your container rather than grow upright (spiller). This method works well to give the appearance of a really full arrangement. Just keep in mind the size of your container when choosing the size of your houseplants. You don’t want to have too much excess space or squeeze plants into a container that’s too small.
Another way to plan your arrangements is to consider plant color. Choose contrasting colors (those that are opposite one another on a color wheel) for added drama or you can choose analogous colors (those next to one another) for more of a cohesive look. Be sure to factor in the color of your container when planning everything out. There are no hard fast rules here, so play around until you find a combination that you personally like.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. This is a great project you can do together with your kids for memories that will last a lifetime. And when in doubt, pay us a visit. We’re here to help!
Everyone is a gardener when it comes to annuals!
Annual plants only stick around with us for one year but with a little TLC, they can have one heck of a year! Annuals are rewarding, fun, and allow you to be as creative as you like. Anyone can plant annuals even with minimal gardening experience.
Half the fun is just picking out your flowers. This time of year the greenhouse is overflowing with annuals in different shapes, colors, and sizes for both the shade and sun. You can match your colors to your home decor or mix and match. The sky’s the limit!
Annuals are easy but you do have to show them a little love. Follow these easy steps for success:
- Plant in well-draining soil. Compaction and standing water are the kiss of death for any plant. Use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Potting Mix when potting up your outdoor containers, and use our Van Wilgen’s Professional Planting Mix when planting annuals in the ground. You’ll want to loosen up the soil to allow water to flow through.
- Water plants daily. Unless the soil already feels pretty damp, or it’s recently rained, your annuals like to get a drink of water. Keep in mind that the warmer temperatures will help dry out the soil, so your outdoor annuals will likely need to be watered more frequently than plants kept indoors.
- Fertilize. Start all containers out with Van Wilgen’s Slow Release Fertilizer. Follow up every two weeks with Bloom Booster. Annuals can really handle it. Fertilize the heck out of them. We only get to enjoy them for one year so push them hard!
- Dead Head. Yes, I know that some annuals like petunias claim to be self-shedding. This is somewhat true but the reality is, they get messy looking if you don’t do a little cleanup. Don’t be afraid to finger-pinch off the dead flowers, or you can use snippers if the stalk is a little woodier.
- Hair Cut. Are your annuals getting leggy? Give them a good haircut to restore their bounce. You may have to be a little patient for the bloom to return, but in the long run, you will have a healthier, more productive annual.
As always, if you run into trouble or need a little advice, just pay us a visit or give us a call. We’re here to help!
We have so few fall days to get outside and enjoy the little bit of warmer weather we have left. Grab the whole family and finish up the last of the fall chores together. Working as a family will make all the work seem lighter. Heck, have some fun while you do it. And…of course, enjoy some pizza and your favorite beverage when all done!
THE LITTLE ONE’S TO-DO LIST:
- Help mom & dad rake up leaves.
- Jump in leaf piles just raked up by mom & dad.
- Rake leaf piles again.
- Keep the dog out of the newly raked leaf piles.
- Dig up all summer bulbs such as gladiolus, cannas, callas, and begonias if mom has not done it already.
- Take several breaks to check Snapchat & Instagram. After all, what would fall clean-up be without social media to document it?!
- Clean out all the old veggies from the vegetable garden so mom can get going with the final veggie garden steps.
- Help dad with pruning out all the brittle, dead wood from the smaller shrubs around the foundation.
- Help mom cut back most of the perennial flowers. There are a few exceptions that you should leave to prune in the spring such as Russian Sage, Ornamental grasses & Roses. If you cut them now, mom might yell at you. (I forgot, us moms never yell)
- Complain a little that you are tired and hungry. Stand in the kitchen with the refrigerator door open, stare at it, and hope a snack will jump into your mouth.
- Tie up ornamental grasses (optional) if you want them to be easier for dad to cut back in the early spring.
MOM & DAD:
- Your little ones took all that time to rake & jump in the leaves, so now it’s time to give the lawn its last mow of the year. Mow it shorter than 3 inches but do not scalp!
- Put down Fall Lawn Fertilizer. So important. Do not forget this last step, multi-tasking moms & dads.
- Apply lime on your lawn & cleaned up veggie garden. You will have the best yard on the block with the proper pH.
- Don’t just feed your children. Feed your plants too! Fertilize trees & shrubs now!
- If moles & voles are an issue, put down a granular repellent to sit under any upcoming snow. Yes snow is coming
- If keeping weeds down is a priority, mulch your garden beds & cover your veggie garden with chopped straw or winter rye.
- If you have fruit trees, put them to bed with a horticultural oil spray all over the branches & trunk.
- Buy your Wilt-Pruf, so you will be ready to spray evergreens, roses & hydrangeas before winter sets in.
- Give big hugs & kisses to your kids (if the teens let you) for all their help. Pig out on pizza and enjoy a cool drink.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
*Greenview Fall Lawn Food or Espoma’s Organic Fall Winterizer
*Soil Doctor’s Lawn Lime or Encap’s Fast Acting Lime
*Holly-Tone, Plant-Tone, or Tree-Tone
*Mulch or Mainely Mulch
*I Must Garden’s Mole & Vole Repellent
*Bonide’s All Season Horticultural Oil
(Products that are good for your lawn and garden in the summer heat!)
“It is sooo hot!” This is what I have been hearing a lot of this summer. Fellow employees are hot, customers are hot, dogs are hot, kids are hot, everyone is hot! We are able to express our feelings and even whine about the heat. What about our poor lawns and gardens. They are hot too. They are just a little quieter about it. Sure, hydrangeas may droop in the afternoon sun, herbs may not be standing at attention, tomato leaves may be curling a bit, and our lawns may be looking a little crispy but at least they are not making a lot of noise about the hot agony they are in. Since they are being such troopers, shouldn’t we give them a little summer treat?! Van Wilgen’s has some delicious treats that will really help your plants make it through this hot, dry spell.
Let’s talk about our newest Van Wilgen product…ROOT BOOST. Root Boost is great any time of the year but its’ summer benefits are off the chart. Root Boost is as organic as you can get. It is an organic powerhouse filled with every essential plant element, beneficial bacteria, and mycorrhizae (beneficial fungus). It is also a balanced fertilizer with a ratio of 6-5-5. I do not want to get too nerdy, technical about this product but I do want you to know how great it really works to increase the root system of any plant. The beneficial fungus and bacteria literally attach themselves to the roots of plants and increase the roots network system. Roots, in turn, can absorb more water and nutrients. Here is the kicker! Root Boost will never burn a plant even in this summer heat. In fact, the added kelp will actually help plants to retain moisture and give them a little breather from the hot sun. Use it on every plant from veggies to houseplants. They all will benefit from all it has to offer. Give your summer plants a boost with Root Boost!
Let’s move onto a little smellier but awesome summer product…FISH & SEAWEED. This is another awesome summer fertilizer that can be used any time of the year. Root Boost has no odor and comes in a powder form that you mix with water. Fish & Seaweed is in a liquid form that gets diluted with water. It works really well in a hose-end sprayer if you have a lot of gardens to cover. Fish and Seaweed is a nice balanced fertilizer that keeps plants strong, helps them retain moisture, and keeps them productive even under the stress of heat. Van Wilgen’s Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer can be used in conjunction with Root Boost and WOW! your plants will be beyond happy.
Do not forget your lawn. Love your lawn this summer with DR. EARTH SUPERNATURAL LAWN FERTILIZER. It comes equipped with a hose-end sprayer so all you do is attach it and go. One bottle covers 5,000 sq. ft. and fills your lawn with prebiotic microbial food, humic acid, and aloe vera to moisturize that stressed summer lawn. This can be used in conjunction or alternating with the tried and true Milorganite. Milorganite is a mainstay for lawn fertilizers that will not burn your lawn even when everything and everyone is suffering in the summer sun.
It is okay to complain about the heat but remember your plants can’t utter a word. Give them a summer treat.
Come see us at Van Wilgen’s. We would love to help!
Fourth of July is often used as a marker for pruning some shrubs, perennials, and annuals. Knowing when to prune is an important step in keeping your plants healthy and thriving. Now is the perfect time to prune the following :
Evergreen trees and shrubs
Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils
Montauk Daisy (halfway)
With Father’s Day just around the corner, do you think it’s finally possible that mother nature will turn the heat up and let the sunshine? I think we are all ready for summer to arrive.
I absolutely love being the annual greenhouse manager. Every day I come to work and get to enjoy all the summer color annuals provide throughout the summer and well into the fall season.
Early spring, we have show stoppers like nemesia, osteospermum daisies, petunias, snow princess allysum, and of course the number one favorite PANSIES!!
But, once the summer heat arrives so do the full-on summer colors.
For the best of all summer color, you can choose from a wide array of thriller plants such as:
- Hibiscus, mandevilla, lantana, jasmine,and cannas.
Next, choose a great filler plant:
- Angelonia, verbena, pentas, gazanias, vermillionare, ageratum, geraniums, lantana, new guinea, and sun impatiens just to name a few. Oh, and we can’t forget diamond frost my all-time favorite.
And last we need a great creeping/spiller plant.
- Petunias, million bells, verbena, lantana, vinca flower, bacopa, lobelia, and even though they don’t flower also Lysimachia and sweet potato vine add great contrast in color against the foliage of all the flowers.
Whether the annual color is in your garden or in pots on your patio any combination of the plants mentioned above will have you saying, IT’S FIVE O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE. “ L.O.L “
Here are a few tips to add a touch of fall to your container gardens:
Pick your mums strategically. There are dozens of varieties in each color so you can get the most out of your fall mums. Pick some that are in color now for a little immediate satisfaction, and mix in a few with more buds than flowers for an added pop later.
Your favorite ornamental grasses are great for fall containers! In colors that are rich and plummy, to white with a silver sheen, they add just the right amount of height and texture to any fall container combo!
Load up on our adorable ornamental cabbages and kales! These plants may look delicate with their intricately lobed leaves and perfectly white to pink to purple coloring, but watch them freeze and thaw and outlast the winter’s snow in your container gardens this year!
Let us help you put together a custom design for your fall containers!
July is here, with that comes fun times with all our family and friends. Some of my best memories are of all the family barbecues which generally started on the fourth of July weekend.
I love to decorate and create elaborate displays for these special times. It’s my way of creating an inviting setting to create memories with everyone that I love.
The easiest way to set the mood for your family barbecue is to find or make a centerpiece for the spot that everyone gathers to. For some that could be the family table, and for others, it could be the deck or patio of your home.
Here at Van Wilgen’s we say grow it for the glory. The glory of the celebration, whether it’s the celebration of the 4th, the celebration of summer, or the celebration of time spent with those we love.
For the 4th we have fun flag pots with red, white, and blue flowers. Super cute way to add a splash of color to your party table. Our own Billy P. says to add a few prince papyrus grasses for the firework feeling. Or maybe you grew your own glory. There’s nothing like going out into your own garden of Van Wilgen grown flowers (of course) and cutting a few to add to a mason jar with some nice festive ribbon. Doesn’t get any easier than that.
If you’re looking for something bigger we have that too. We can create anything to your specifications, we love to make custom containers at our potting bench in the greenhouse. Come in with an idea and we will make it happen.
Our patio is overflowing with color for your quick holiday decorations. Our ready -to go patio pots are looking awesome and ready to go home to your house and get the party started. It’s easy, pick your favorites, bring home and place around the patio, invite some friends and make some memories.
“Grown for the glory” for every celebration big or small.